Biking: For Fun, for Work, for Your Heart

Biking for work or pleasure may produce heart health benefits

(RxWiki News) Riding your bike regularly — whether it's for the wind in your face or to get to work — may help keep your heart healthy, two new studies found.

People in these studies who rode their bikes regularly for fun or to get to work had fewer heart attacks over a 20-year follow-up period than those who did not ride regularly.

Plenty of past research has found that cardiovascular exercise benefits the heart, but these studies looked specifically at the effects of riding a bicycle.

What they found was regular bikers had between 11 and 18 percent fewer heart attacks. 

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adults in Sweden who are middle-aged or older and biked to work were less likely to be obese or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or pre-diabetes.

"Because recreational and commuter biking is an easy way to make physical activity part of one's routine in a non-structured and informal fashion, based on the results, public health authorities, governments and employers ought to consider initiatives that promote bicycle riding as a way to support large-scale cardiovascular disease prevention efforts," said lead study author Kim Blond, MSc, research assistant at the University of Southern Denmark, in a press release.

Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Not all exercise programs are safe. 

These studies were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and Circulation.

The Danish Cancer Society, the Lundbeck Foundation and the Danish Council for Independent Research funded the Circulation study.

The Lundbeck Foundation, the Danish Council for Independent Research, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation and the European Research Council funded the Journal of the American Heart Association study.

Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available for either study prior to publication.

Review Date: 
November 11, 2016